Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that affects dogs and humans and is caused by the Leishmania parasite which is normally found in the sand fly. The parasite enters its mammalian host when the sand flies bites and pierces the skin allowing access to the blood stream.
The sand flies that carry the Leishmania parasite are usually found in tropical and subtropical environments and can vary greatly in number. There have been cases of fatal infection in parts of Africa, such as Kenya, and Ethiopia and across parts of the Indian continent. Bangladesh is also one of the major hosts of this parasite so care should be taken in these places.
There are currently around 20 types of sintomas leishmaniose canina that each affects their host in different ways. Some forms of it are mild and manageable whereas other forms can prove deadly if treatment is not sought quickly. If your dog has been bitten by a sandfly it is imperative to get them the vets immediately to prevent them from succumbing to this parasite, which in many cases leads to death. Below you will find out about the two most common ways it can affect your pet and what to look out for.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a much milder form of the parasite and only attacks the skin. The parasite will cause unsightly ulcers in the skin wherever it is burrowing and can travel quickly from place to place. This is the most common form of leishmaniasis and treatment is not usually required. Treatment can, however, help clear up the parasite and aid in faster healing should it be used. Symptoms will involve nose bleeds, a stuffy or a runny nose and difficulty breathing.
Visceral leishmaniasis is also called systemic leishmaniasis. Typically it will emerge between two to seven months after experiencing a bite from a sandfly and the parasite targets and destroys the internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen. As it progresses it weaken the immune system making it harder for the body to fight infection and if left untreated will result in serious organ damage and eventually death. Symptoms can include weight loss, hair loss, a dry nose and bleeding from the snout or gums, scaly skin and weakness.
If your dog is in an area that the parasite is known to be present in and is showing any signs of infection, take them to the nearest vet or animal hospital to have them treated. Do not leave them to suffer, treatment can be administered quickly and cheaply and can help save the life of your beloved pet.